The descendant of one of Mernda’s pioneering families says he is “devastated” by a fire at the historic Mayfield homestead overnight.

A fire broke out at the Plenty Road homestead about midnight.

The cause of the fire is being investigated by police.

The Mayfield Homestead was built in the 1850s by Moses Thomas – one of Mernda’s founding fathers.

It is part of a parcel of land slated for development as part of the Mernda town centre.

Mernda resident Neil Johnson, who is a descendant of Thomas, visited the site this morning and said it appeared the fire had started at the back of the house.

“It appears the fire broke out at the back of the house which is timber. The front portion of the house is double brick and the interior walls are double brick so it is quite a sturdy house,” he said.

“From the road, you don’t get a sense of how much damage has occurred.

“From the images we have seen, the fire was quite intense … it’s pretty devastating.

“The surrounding grass in surrounding farmland is quite long so there was no shortage of fuel.”

Mayfield Homestead

Mayfield Homestead in its heyday. (Supplied)

Mr Johnson said he had been contacted by many Mernda residents who were saddened to hear about the fire.

“The sentiment on Facebook is that it is really sad that this happened to such a pretty house,” he said.

“As far as it’s connection to Mernda and what it means to Mernda, it was the home of one of Mernda’s founding fathers.

“It is nice to get support from the wider community.”